I am not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. After a few weeks they are easy to break, and then you inevitably feel discouraged, stuck, or back to where you started. But there is one resolution that is worth pursuing not just this year, but for the rest of your life. It is a key to long-term happiness and fulfillment…
Of course, “Bah, humbug!” is not the end of Scrooge’s story… In fact, here at Beyond the Crucible, he could be the poster character for, as we often say, not letting your worst day define you, for moving beyond setback and failure. Especially this year, in fact, one in which we’ve spent a good deal of time exploring how to discover your second-act significance, there may be no better character who comes around every Christmas to study as a means of learning how we each can move from “Is this all there is?” to “This is all I’ve ever wanted.”
As we rise in organizations and become more successful and as our businesses grow, life gets more hectic and more demanding. We travel more, are away from home more, the pressure intensifies. Our bosses or our boards seem more demanding. The shareholders expect and demand continuous quarterly earnings increases. But something else happens, too. Perhaps imperceptibly, we begin to change.
Typically, when we face an obstacle, especially a major obstacle, we tend to think, at least in the moment, this is the end. Especially if it is a serious health diagnosis, the loss of a loved one, or losing your job or the company you started. That is normal. Our first reaction is almost never, “Oh joy! An obstacle! I am sure this will be a great learning experience. I can’t wait to see what unfolds.”
When we think of legacy and purpose, it can be intimidating. When we are gone, how do we want our loved ones and friends to think of us? What will be our legacy? Do we want to be remembered as someone who worshipped the almighty dollar and would ruthlessly destroy anyone in our path? As someone who was always out for ourselves? Someone who did not really care about anyone other than our self, indifferent to the suffering and pain of those around us?